MAY 09, 2020 1:20 PM PDT

Disney movies boost quality of life during chemo

Have you considered popping in a Disney movie during your next chemotherapy session? A study published recently in JAMA Network Open is suggesting that watching Disney movies during chemotherapy could be associated with improved quality of life - so, why not?

The study was an observational study that considered 56 patients diagnosed with gynecologic cancer in a randomized clinical trial. The researchers found that over six cycles of chemotherapy, watching Disney movies was associated with differences in emotional functioning, social functioning, and fatigue status scores compared with controls.

Oncological quality of life assessments has become ever more critical as more and more people around the world are diagnosed with cancer and subjected to uncomfortable and at-times distressing treatment options. Stress reduction and maintaining a positive attitude have been highlighted as an important quality of life improvements in previous studies. Johannes Ott, M.D., of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, and the corresponding author of the study was interested to learn if the act of watching Disney movies during chemotherapy could aid in these goals.

Ott conducted the study at a cancer referral center in Vienna, Austria from December 2017 to December 2018. The women participating were over 18 years and had planned 6 cycles of chemotherapy with either carboplatin and paclitaxel or carboplatin and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin. During this time period in the women’s chemotherapy sessions, participants were either shown Disney movies or not shown them. Before and after every cycle, they completed standardized questionnaires from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).

Source: Pixabay

Of the 50 women who completed the study, 25 women were shown Disney movies and 25 women were not (considered the control group). Over the study period, patients in the Disney group reported feeling less tense and worried less than patients in the control group according to their responses to the questions about emotional functioning. The results also showed that watching Disney movies was associated with fewer fatigue symptoms and less encroachment on patients’ family life and social activities, as evaluated by the social functioning questions. 

This study concludes that there is a positive association between watching Disney movies during chemotherapy and improved emotional and social functioning and fatigue status in patients with gynecologic cancers.

Sources: JAMA Network Open, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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